Hall of Stone Campaign:
Id like to change character abilities from traits to actions. For example, instead of the trait diplomatic, Id rather a character have the ability Smooth over rough social situations. You can still call the ability diplomatic, but its functionality is described by what the character can do, not just what the character is. The way this works is that you can be expected to do what your ability says, unless theres opposition. If theres opposition, we need some sort of roll off.
Abilities need to be pretty modest, since theyre successful by default. Lets experiment by giving each social ability a one-use special effect. This is an extraordinary capacity thats only going to fire once per adventure. For example, the social ability Diplomatic: smooth over rough spots might have the one-shot ability shift blame. Once per adventure, the character could deflect blame from one person to another. Its not so much a magical ability that always works, but an agreement between the player and GM that this is something that the character should be able to succeed at if its plausible and theres no particular resistance.
Ive got ideas for how one-shots would refresh, but lets keep it simple to start.
Unsettling AuraUnnerve commoners, impress sorcerers, make a powerful impression, make dogs leave you alone. One-shot: make someone quail before you and give in, even if doing so will get them in trouble.
Heavenly LooksWin favors from the appropriate sex, get dates, attract attention, serve as a distraction. One-shot: entice a susceptible person to violate protocol or duty.
Golden TongueMake a good first impression, get someone to say more than they normally would, flatter to gain favor. One-shot: get someone to reach a positive conclusion about you against reasonable (but not ironclad) evidence.
The following material about social abtilities is original and outdated, but still useful for seeing what sorts of social abilities are possible.
You start with 3 social powers, at +3, +2, and +1 (your pick). Each level, you gain +1 on all current socials and get another at +1.
Access to things or people that others dont have.
Circle of Contacts
Affect how others react to you.
Unsettling AuraGood for intimidating commoners, impressing sorcerers, withstanding disgust, etc.
Heavenly LooksGood for winning favors from the appropriate sex, getting dates, attracting attention, etc.
Golden TongueGood for making first impressions, picking up information, reciting poetry, etc.
Showmans GiftGood for working a crowd, preaching, extoling, etc.
Innocent DemeanorAppear harmless when a normal man would look threatening.
Sorcerers Distracting Gaze: Illegal, but handy. You have to look at the target, but thats about all, so its easy to get away with if no ones looking for it.
Pages Shameless Tongue: Buttering up superiors, ingratiating yourself to your betters, obtaining mercy, etc.
Aridani Allure: The gender switch is significant enough that people react in various ways, some negative and some positive. Women may be jealous or admiring. Men may be threatened or intrigued. Youve learned to use both negative and positive feelings for your own purposes.
Sense of Intentions UnspokenPick up a vibe off another character.
Gladiators Seasoned EyeSize up an enemys physical capabilities.
Sorcerous Eye for Weakness
Divine Sense of the Twisted Soul
Priestly StatusGood for winning special privileges, making a good impression, etc.
Favored at the Temple of Chegarra
Clans Golden Child
Initiate of the Brotherhood of the Red Skull (renowned scholarly sect under Thumis)
Former Runaway (knowledge of the clanless and their ways)
Veteran of the Doommarch (catastrophically failed invasion of Hlutgru territory)
- - -
How often is it useful?
When its useful, how useful is it?
Pleasant singing voice. Not often useful, and not terribly useful when it is. Big bonus.
Discern Lies. Often useful, and quite useful. Small bonus.
Illegitimate Son of the Governor. Not often useful, but quite useful when it is.
Tsolyani weapons are big and outlandish.